Check out my New York Times post for English Language Learners focuses on using music for language development and includes a student interactive, video, and teaching ideas.
I use music a lot in my teaching of English Language Learners. I thought people might find it helpful to see which sites I believe to be the best out there to help teach English — Beginning, Intermediate, and Advanced — through music. My students have certainly found them helpful.
Music is a familiar, fun, and engaging tool to use in learning a second language. This list includes sites that have music to listen to, activities for students to do, and ways for them to create their own.
This is latest of my “The Best…” series, also known as Websites Of The Year. The sites on this list can be found, along with 8,000 other categorized links, on my website. I am also in the process of designing a special page on my website so that it’s easy for students to access my lists of The Best Websites on their own.
You might also be interested in an interview I did about using music in the ESL/EFL classroom.
Lastly, you might find these other “The Best…” lists useful:
The Best Music Websites For Learning English
The Best Online Sites For Creating Music
The Best Online Karaoke Sites For English Language Learners
Not “The Best,” But “A List” Of Music Sites
The Best Places To Get Royalty-Free Music & Sound Effects
The Best Places To Find Lyrics On The Web
The Best Sites For Ideas On Making Simple Musical Instruments
The Best — And Easiest — Ways To Use YouTube If, Like Us, Only Teachers Have Access To It
Here are what I believe to be the best music websites for learning English:
The Music Page from the Language Guide, the best audio/picture dictionary on the Web for English Language Learners. It’s obviously important for students to understand some basic music vocabulary.
The English Language Listening Lab Online, also known as ELLO, has a good Music page . Students can listen to pop tunes and many, but not all, have follow-up exercises that can be accessed by clicking on “Word Challenge.”
Here’s a new site called Lyrics Mode. This is clearly the best source for accurate song lyrics to print-out without having to put-up with countless annoying pop-up adds that are prevalent in other lyrics sites.
EFL Club Songs has been a favorite of my students. It, too, has clozes to be completed while listening to popular songs.
Using Songs In The English Classroom by Hans Mol, a teacher in Australia, is a short article that was just published in Humanising Language Teaching Magazine (which is on The Best Resource Sites For ESL/EFL Teachers list). It gives a very good overview of different language-development activities that can be done with music.
Mondos: Song Lessons offers a lot of excellent song-related activities for English Language Learners.
Teaching English through songs in the digital age is a four part series by Vicky Saumell summarizing a recent #ELTchat session on Twitter. I can’t imagine you’d find a better compilation of resources and teaching ideas anyway — it’s a must-read and must-bookmark resource.
And, if that isn’t enough for you, Eva Büyüksimkeşyan has also posted another exhaustive list of music-related resources: Songs in EFL Classroom.
About two months ago, our District changed its policy and allowed teachers to access many previously-blocked site, including YouTube. It really expands learning opportunities for our students in so many ways. I wanted to share two great music sites we can now use with our students:
One is Lyrics Training. It shows YouTube videos of the latest popular songs, and provides subtitled “clozes.” In other words, it will show the words as they are sung, but it will periodically show a “blank” where a word has been removed. The video will stop at the end of that line, and listeners have to type in the correct word that they heard. The “blank” also shows how many letters there are in the missing word. You’re given the option of watching the video with a few blanks, more blanks, or none (which is great after you complete the whole song). It’s great to project it up on the screen and then have students — either individually or in small groups — use small whiteboards to write down their answers. It’s simple to use — no registration is necessary — and you can learn more about it at Teacher Training Videos.
LyricsGaps is similar to Lyrics Training.
Batlyrics has been on The Best Places To Find Lyrics On The Web list for awhile. It shows the lyrics on the side while playing a YouTube video of the song at the same time. Now that we can access YouTube, it’s great to have a full sing-along.
Classroom Songs: 16 Creative Ways lists some good ways to use music in the ESL/EFL classroom.
I’m making some new additions to this list focused on research that supports using music in the classroom:
Using Songs in the EFL Classroom is an online presentation by David Deubelbeiss
clubEFL has the Picture Dictionary, that has mostly YouTube music videos and interactive exercises.
The British Council reorganized their website awhile back, and now that have all their songs for English Language Learners (including closed-captioning) all in one place. It’s an excellent resource.
Results of a new study will come as no surprise to anyone who teaches a second language: “Singing can help when learning a foreign language.”
Of course, having a little more research to back you up if people question the melodic tones coming from your classroom can’t hurt. Even more info on the study is here.
Using Music and Songs in EFL Classes is the theme of the 33rd ELT Blog Carnival, and it’s a good one! Eva Buyuksimkesyan has gathered contributions from English teachers throughout the world on the topic, and it’s so good that I’m adding it to this list.
10 Ways To Use Songs In The EFL Classroom is from Lyrical English.
Songs and Activities for English Language Learners is a new and useful website full of resources.
Four Tips for Teaching English Through Music is by Judie Haynes.
How to use songs in the English language classroom is a great post by Adam Simpson.
6 Activities you can do online with songs and music is from The British Council.
Making the right choices: ‘Lean On Me’ is an intriguing lesson using music with ELLs.
There are places I remember is from On The Same Page and offers a new idea on using music in the ELL classroom.
Using music and songs is from The British Council.
10 ways to teach English through music is from ETpedia.
Pop Song Workbook is a treasure trove from David Deubelbeiss.
14 Song-Based Lesson Plans and Activities is from On The Same Page.
Songs and Activities for English Language Learners is by Sandra Heyer.
Beyond the Gap Fill: Dynamic Activities for Song in the EFL Classroom is from American English.
Tune Into English has a lot of resources about teaching English through music.
Musixmatch, when connected to Spotify, can show the words to any song that is playing.
New Ideas for Teaching English using Songs and Music is by Kristin Lems.
The Song Activity Factory has lots of song-related ELL lessons.
Learn English With BSC combines music videos with well-done exercises. Of course, many of the videos will be blocked by school content filters, but they can be used at home.
Vocal Remover “Removes vocals from any song.” This could come in handy if you’re teaching English through singing.
Picnic English has lots of song activities.
Vibely is interesting. Type in the name of any song, and it will show you its lyrics. The twist, however, is that various words are covered-up with a black box (which is removed by just moving your cursor on it to reveal the words). Though it’s not as useful as, let’s say, Lyricstraining (which can show multiple choices for what goes in the blanks, it still could be a good option for a learning tool.